What are the projection, horizontal and vertical datum, format, and distributed tile extent of 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contours?

Contours are not projected, but are provided in geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) in units of decimal degrees, and horizontally referenced to the North American Datum of 1983. Contour elevation values are vertically referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. Contours are staged in Esri File Geodatabase 10.1 or Shapefile format, and distributed in 1x1 degree tiles for the conterminous United States.

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Are depression contours identified in 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contour products?

Yes, depression contours are identified with tick marks, but only in large scale contours from 36K to 18K.

What geographic areas do 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contours cover?

Contours cover the conterminous United States at small (578K/289K), medium (144K/72K), and large (36K/18K) scales.

Are 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contour lines updated and what sources were used to create them?

When significant changes in the landscape have occurred, contours will be updated on an as-needed basis.  The 100-foot contours were derived from 3DEP (formerly National Elevation Dataset) one arc-second resolution data that was sub-sampled to a cell size of three arc-second. The 50-foot contours were also derived from one arc-second data. Large-...

What is the difference between lidar data and a digital elevation model (DEM)?

Light detection and ranging (lidar ) data are collected from aircraft using sensors that detect the reflections of a pulsed laser beam. The reflections are recorded as millions of individual points, collectively called a “point cloud,” that represent the 3D positions of objects on the surface including buildings, vegetation, and the ground...
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Date published: February 7, 2019

USGS 3DEP Lidar Point Cloud Now Available as Amazon Public Dataset

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is excited to announce the availability of a new way to access and process lidar point cloud data from the 3DEP repository.

Date published: June 26, 2018

The 3D Elevation Program Distributing Lidar Data in LAZ Format

In support of ongoing efforts to provide efficient, cloud ready, open data formats for the use of lidar data, the USGS National Geospatial Program and its associated 3D Elevation Program is transitioning all of its lidar data distribution files to LAZ format by September 30, 2018.

Date published: March 28, 2018

The 3D Elevation Program – Flood Risk Management

Flooding is the leading cause of Presidential disaster declarations. On average, the water hazard has resulted in more than 80 fatalities and cost the U.S. nearly $8 billion annually.

Date published: July 28, 2017

The 3D Elevation Program and America's Infrastructure

The USGS is seeing a dramatic increase in the use of 3D geospatial data for infrastructure planning, modeling and construction

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Alaska Topographic Map Contours on Glacier
April 25, 2016

Alaska Map with Contours on Glacier

Alaska US Topo map sample image of contours over Chedotlothna Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve.

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek
April 14, 2016

Comparison Lidar and Air Photo

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek, 12 miles north of John Day, OR. The lidar image allows identification of landslide activity that is otherwise masked by trees. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries).

video thumbnail: Elevation
April 30, 2012

Elevation

The National Elevation Dataset (NED) is the primary elevation data product produced and distributed by the USGS National 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). The NED provides seamless raster elevation data of the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and the island territories. The NED is derived from diverse source data sets that are processed to a specification with a

video thumbnail: Using bare-earth LiDAR imagery to reveal the Tahoe - Sierra frontal fault zone Lake Tahoe, California.
September 29, 2008

Using bare-earth LiDAR imagery to reveal the Tahoe - Sierra frontal fault zone Lake Tahoe, California.

This video provides a visual example of how airborne LiDAR (Light D
etection And Ranging) imagery penetrates dense forest cover to reveal
an active fault line not detectable with conventional aerial
photography. The video shows an aerial perspective of the range front
Mt. Tallac fault, which is one of five active faults that traverse

Attribution: Natural Hazards